“Sasayaki No Tsudoi” Translation: Gathering Whispers. On Saturday night, Giant Robot celebrated Edwin Ushiro’s new ‘tra-digital’ works on plexiglass (previewed here), a luminous combination of traditional and digital. When we last saw him, it was back in 2010 for his show with Yoskay Yamamoto at Roq La Rue, Ushiro’s first trial with this technique. His unique manner of working was recently documented in Thrash Lab x Giant Robot’s artist documentary series, which played at the opening. It offered a rare insight into his private process of sketching, digitally painting, and reapplying the work onto plexiglass for final, hand painted touches.
“Sasayaki No Tsudoi” (“Gathering Whispers”)
Edwin Ushiro (right) with Giant Robot’s Eric Nakamura (left).
Ushiro’s work has dimension that should be seen in person- it has similarities to traditional animation cel painting, where a character is applied onto clear acetate to allow for mobility throughout the scene. It also recalls traditional Japanese painting which conventionally showed small figures in increasingly large backgrounds, and compositions dictated by weather. Ushiro’s figures come to life in looming and ominous environments, adding drama to the ghost stories he’s retelling. Kids are shown lighting sparklers to scare away spirits, and jumping off a car that recounts his mother’s experience with a ghost-child. The island of Maui is painted like a lush fantasyland, illuminated in misty bright colors, hinting at the presence of nearby spirits. Ironically, the figures of Ushiro’s family and childhood friends embody spirits themselves, as they represent a time long past. With each illustration, Ushiro records these moments so they will not fade away.
“Gathering Whispers” by Edwin Ushiro exhibits at Giant Robot GR2 July 12th through July 30th, 2014.